Ferghana Valley

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The Ferghana Valley Basin is part of / comprises: · Asia & Pacific · Central Asia · Europe & CIS ·
Countries sharing the Ferghana Valley Basin: · Kazakhstan · Kyrgyzstan · Tajikistan · Turkmenistan ·
Facts & Figures edit
Catchment AreaA km3
Neighbouring BasinsA
Population DensityA /km2
DischargeA km3/yr
Surface Area m3
Average Depth m
Water Volume m2
Water Stress m3/person/year
Average Precipitation mm/yr
Evaporation mm/yr
Runoff mm/yr
Land Use
Irrigated Area km2
Irrigable Area km2
No. of DamsA
Dam Density dams/km2
Total Water Withdrawals km3
  For Agricultural Use
  For Domestic Use
  For Industrial Use
Renewable Water Available (m3/yr/pers)
References & Remarks
A Transboundary Freshwater Spatial Database, Oregon University

> Articles | Projects & Case studies | Publications & Web resources | Who is who | Maps

Latest 4 maps for / including Ferghana Valley (more..):



Topography and Hydrology in the Ferghana Valley (Source: ENVSEC)
Topography and Hydrology in the Ferghana Valley (Source: ENVSEC)

Water Basin Profile: Physical and Hydrological Characteristics

Climate Change, Natural Disasters and other Threats

Climate Change and Natural Disasters Impact in the ferghana Valley
(source: ENVSEC)

Land-issues in the Ferghana Valley
(source: ENVSEC)

Water Basin Profile: Socio-Economic and Environmental Issues

A shared valley in every aspect

Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan are highly interdependent in terms of water and energy, which are two main factors at the heart of the compound crisis that hit Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan in 2007/2008.

The three countries share borders that have been rather artificially created during the Soviet Union era. As a result, Tajikistan has a large Uzbek and a smaller Kyrgyz minority, Kyrgyzstan has Uzbek and Tajik minorities and Uzbekistan has a large Tajik and smaller Kyrgyz minority. These borders did not matter much during Soviet times, but became very real after independence, giving rise to numerous cross-border conflict situations, especially around access and management of land and natural resources (in particular water). Infrastructure (roads, railways, irrigation systems, canals, water pipes, etc.) was often established without consideration for the borders, making their management extremely complex after independence.

The Ferghana Valley, which constituted the Khanate of Kokand before its incorporation into the Russian Empire in 1876, is the most complex area in this regard. It is a heavily populated bowl-shaped depression of which the central and by far largest part is part of Uzbekistan, the mountainous fringes to the North, East and South are part of Kyrgyzstan and the entrance to the valley to the West is part of Tajikistan. All three countries have major urban centers in the Valley.

Borders dividing peoples and services

While the peoples of the valley share to some extend a common, rather traditional and religiously conservative, identity in comparison to other parts of the three countries, population pressure and scarcity of land have occasionally given rise to conflicts between the different ethnic communities even during Soviet times (such as the sudden outburst of violence in May1989 against the Meskhetian Turks and the 1990 riots between ethnic Uzbeks and Kyrgyz near Osh).

The borders in the Ferghana Valley between the three countries defy logic, unless they were created with the objective of “divide and rule”. In some parts, the border cuts through villages and even backyards of houses. Roads meander repeatedly across borders. Water pump stations may be located on one side of the border to provide irrigation water to the other side. The Batken Oblast of Kyrgyzstan contains one Tajik and two Uzbek enclaves. One of the Uzbek enclaves is actually populated by ethnic Tajiks. Uzbekistan contains a few tiny Tajik and Kyrgyz enclaves.

With the imposition of a visa regime for Tajiks and Kyrgyz by Uzbekistan, accompanied by strict border controls and the placement of minefields along several parts of the border, the free movement of people and goods in the valley has been interrupted. Markets on the Uzbek side are no longer accessible to Tajiks and Kyrgyz. Batken Oblast in Kyrgyzstan, which used to benefit from its relatively close proximity to Tashkent, Khujand and the main urban centers of the Uzbek part of the Valley in comparison to other parts of Kyrgyzstan, has become increasingly isolated and marginalized. The Kyrgyz government is concerned about increasing poverty and depopulation and lack of investment.

While relations between Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan are generally good, with free movement between the two countries, even though water management and access to land cause tensions at local level, relations between the two countries and Uzbekistan have become increasingly difficult. In 2005, Uzbekistan blamed radical Islamists from Osh (Kyrgyzstan) for provoking the demonstrations in Andijan (Uzbekistan) that led to intervention by the Uzbek army. Uzbekistan has long claimed that Islamist terrorists have used Batken Oblast and the Tajik areas of Gornaya Macha, Rasht Valley, Tavildara and Darwaz as hiding places for training and launching terrorist attacks on Uzbekistan. At present, it has become problematic for Tajik citizens to enter Uzbekistan even with a visa.

Given its own internal concerns about the loyalty of the population in Ferghana Valley towards the government in Tashkent, Uzbekistan has consistently rejected any formal connotation of even its part of the Ferghana Valley as a geographical-socioeconomic entity, even though during Soviet times the entire Valley constituted a single economy geared towards the large scale production of cotton.

As a result, Ferghana Valley remains volatile and a potential source of regional conflict that hampers normalization of inter-regional relations and economic integration.

Water Basin Profile: Transboundary Political and Institutional Setting

Water Basin Profile: Emerging Challenges and Opportunities for the Future

UNDP in the Ferghana Valley

UNDP Tajikistan has been active in Sughd Oblast since 1999, first through the Tajikistan Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Development Programme (RRDP) and since 2004 through the Communities Programme. It has an Area Office in Khujand. It has been active in a number of spheres, including community-based infrastructure rehabilitation, cross-border activities with Batken Oblast – mainly on issues related to conflict prevention in cooperation with UNDP Kyrgyzstan - establishment and support to small farmers' associations, jamoat resource centers, District Development Councils and microfinance, etc. Currently, activities are limited to the districts of Bobojon Gafurov, Rasulov and Isfara, along the border with Kyrgyzstan.

UNDP Kyrgyzstan is active in Osh and Batken Oblasts through the Peace and Development Programme, local Governance Programme, Poverty Alleviation Programme and other activities. Recently, the Area-Based Development Programme was launched in Batken, which aims at integrating the activities of the before-mentioned programmes into a cohesive area-based framework. From 1999 until 2003(?) UNDP Kyrgyzstan and UNDP Tajikistan collaborated on cross-border activities, mainly funded by SDC.

UNDP Uzbekistan has been active in Ferghana and Namangan Oblasts since 2005, when it launched the “Enhancement of Living Standards Project”, funded by EC. The ELS is an area-based programme focusing on strengthening development planning capacities, community development and local governance, and income generation. Since 2008 it has started working in Andijan Oblast as well and now covers all three Oblast of the Uzbek part of the Ferghana Valley.

The UNDP-EC BOMCA/CADAP programme is active in all three countries.

While attempts have been made in the past at coordinating and aligning activities of the programmes of the three UNDP Offices in the Valley, this has been mainly hampered by resistance from the part of Uzbekistan. For example, as recent as 2007, Uzbek staff of the ELS were not allowed to travel to Khujand to attend a coordination meeting.

On the other hand, coordination between UNDP Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan has not encountered any political obstacles, exemplified by the quite close cooperation in cross-border activities between 1999 and 2003 when the RRDP in Tajikistan even carried out infrastructure projects in Batken Oblast. However, in recent years, collaboration between the two COs and their programmes has become more ad hoc. There is incidental contact on the ground between the programmes, but no joint activities have been undertaken in recent years.

Pertinent vulnerabilities and the need for joint Strategies

The case for developing a common strategy for UNDP support to the Ferghana Valley is as strong as ever and has received renewed urgency following the compound winter crisis of 2007/2008, which clearly exposed water and energy management as main development challenges to be addressed. This is now further compounded by the global financial crisis that potentially could worsen the situation further through decreasing remittances and the return of labor migrants facing limited job opportunities. In addition, tensions between communities along the borders, especially between Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, over access to land, water and other resources continue to give rise to occasional violent local conflicts. The restrictions on the movement of people and goods between Uzbekistan and the other two countries severely constrain economic development and integration. Lack of cooperation between the three countries, even between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, means that disaster risk management and response is weak. There is no common Early Warning System for the Ferghana Valley, even though a major natural disaster would probably affect all three countries at the same time. The presence of unmarked minefields on the Uzbek side of the border continues to pose a threat to communities living along the border.

While the opportunities for involving Uzbekistan in developing and implementing a joint strategy in the Ferghana Valley is likely to remain limited in the foreseeable future, as a first step such a joint strategy and corresponding joint programme could be established between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, while continuing attempts to engage Uzbekistan as well. A joint area-based programme between Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan could initially focus on the border area of Soghd and Batken Oblasts and/or on the border area of Rasht Valley (Jirgital) and the adjacent area in Kyrgyzstan, where relations between the communities have been good for many years and cross-border movement of people and goods is expected to receive new impetus with the reconstruction of the Dushanbe-Lakhsh road by the Asian Development Bank and the planned establishment of integrated border control.

Opportunities for Area-based development

In the Ferghana Valley proper, the initial focus areas of a joint area-based programme could be on 'cross-border management of water and land, alongside with local development efforts including economic development (in close cooperation with local authorities, and existing local civil society mechanisms such as district development councils, jamoat resource centers, etc.), and cross-border initiatives to build trust and confidence amongst the different populations.

UNDP could count on support by the UN Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan to support the area-based programme in the Ferghana Valley. Besides its efforts to increase regional cooperation through inter-governmental processes, the Centre will be also increasing its technical capacities e.g. in the area of water and land management.

Donors and partners in the Ferghana Valley

The EC has been a major donor in the Ferghana Valley in recent years, not only funding the Uzbekistan ELS, but also providing funding to programmes and projects of UNDP Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan in the Valley. It also funds BOMCA/CADAP.


Recently updated articles on Ferghana Valley
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Projects and Case Studies

Projects in or about Ferghana Valley

(this is a list of the 15 most recently updated entries. To see all projects click here)

  1. Regional Research Network Water in Central Asia (CAWa) ‎(4,620 views) . . Katy Unger-Shayesteh
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  3. Ferghana Valley Water Resources Management Project ‎(5,661 views) . . WikiBot
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  5. Ferghana Valley Water Resources Management Phase-I ‎(2,345 views) . . WikiBot

Case studies in or about Ferghana Valley

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5 most recently updated publications on Ferghana Valley

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Who is Who

People working in Ferghana Valley

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Organizations working in Ferghana Valley

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See also

"Resurgence of Islamic Radicalism in Tajikistan's Ferghana Valley" in Global Terrorism Issue 15 (2006) - The Jamestown Foundation

External Resources

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